Michele Harriman-Smith and George Smith and family
Internet retailing
Rank 2017

Childrensalon, a global online retailer for luxury kids’ clothing, began in 1952 as a high street shop. Chief executive Harriman-Smith, 64, took over the Tunbridge Wells-based company from her mother and set about tugging the business into the internet age. When her graphic designer husband George, 69, originally posed the idea of an online retail site her first thought was: "Why would anyone buy anything on the internet?" Luckily, George was persuasive and the pair began to learn coding, launching the website in 1999.
   Today the business has 230 staff and sells more than 280 high-end brands, including Juicy Couture, Dolce & Gabbana and Ralph Lauren, to Europe, the Middle East, America and Australia, and operates websites in seven languages. A surge in sales of traditional styles after the births of Prince George and Princess Charlotte boosted growth in 2015, with profits rising 77% to £10.7m on £42.8m turnover. Owned by the family and its trusts, the firm should easily be worth £107m. Past dividends take the family to £110m.

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